Import restriction on salamanders

Import restriction

Canada prohibits the import of all species of the order Caudata (such as salamanders, newts and mudpuppies) unless accompanied by a permit. The goal is to protect wild Canadian salamander species from a harmful fungus.

This import restriction includes living or dead specimens, as well as any of their:

  • eggs
  • sperm
  • tissue culture
  • embryos

It also includes any other parts or derivatives of species of the order Caudata.

This measure is implemented under the following act and regulation: 

  • Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA)
  • Wild Animal and Plant Trade Regulations (WAPTR)

The current restriction came into effect on May 12, 2018. It replaced a temporary one-year import restriction on salamanders. The fungus continues to pose a significant conservation threat to Canadian salamanders.

To learn more about the regulation, visit the following links:

Permitting policy

The importation of any specimen of the order Caudata (such as salamanders, newts or mudpuppies) requires a permit issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada. To find out more about the permitting requirement or obtain a permit application form, please consult the links below:

Frequently asked questions

1. Why is the Government of Canada restricting the import of salamanders?

A disease-causing fungus called Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), has been devastating salamander populations in Europe. It is suspected that the fungus spread from Asia via the pet trade. Wild salamanders play a vital role in Canada's ecosystems as part of the food web and in nutrient and carbon cycling. If the fungus enters Canadian ecosystems, the impacts on our native salamanders will likely be severe.

2. How is the current import restriction different than the previous one-year year import restriction (May 12, 2017 to May 11, 2018)?

The current import restriction is similar to the one-year restriction, in that it prohibits the import of all salamanders without a permit. However, some changes have been made to the permitting policy:

  • under the previous (one-year) restriction, importers were required to follow the same permitting process for all categories of salamander imports
  • under the current policy, the permitting process has been simplified for imports categorized as low risk
3. What do I need if I want to import a salamander into Canada?

You will need a permit issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). All permit applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Factors that will be considered include:

  • the area of the world where the shipment originated or travelled through
  • the species to be imported
  • the type of specimen (e.g., extracted DNA, live salamanders or preserved parts)

In the case of imports categorized as high risk, importers also need to clearly show that:

  • the salamander specimen will not be released into Canadian ecosystems
  • appropriate measures will be in place to avoid the spread of the fungus
4. When did the new import restriction for salamanders come into effect?

The restriction came into effect on May 12, 2018.  It replaces a temporary, one-year restriction, which expired on May 11, 2018.

5. How long will this restriction be in place for salamanders?

The restriction will be in place indefinitely. The permitting policy may change due to new scientific knowledge.

6. Why does this restriction apply to all salamanders?

The Government of Canada is taking a precautionary approach. Restricting the import of all salamanders takes into consideration the evolving understanding of the disease, as well as the enforcement challenges associated with identifying different salamander species.

7. Is there a cost for permits for salamanders?

There are no fees for applying for or obtaining a permit.

8.  Can I transport or sell my salamander(s) in another province or territory within Canada?

The import restriction only applies to import into Canada from other countries. The transport and sale of salamander(s) within Canada may still require provincial or territorial authorizations.

9. What are the penalties for not complying with this import restriction for salamanders?

For an individual, on summary conviction for a first offence, the Act allows for fines of up to $300,000 or imprisonment for up to 6 months, or both. For a corporation, on summary conviction for a first offence, the fines can be up to $4,000,000. If you suspect a violation, you can contact the Enforcement Branch of Environment and Climate Change Canada at ec.enviroinfo.ec@canada.ca or by phone at 1-800-668-6767.

10. Who can I contact to find out more regarding this import restriction for salamanders?

Contact us at: 1-855-869-8670, or by email at ec.permisscf-cwspermit.ec@canada.ca

Decontamination protocol

To prevent the spread of amphibian and reptile pathogens in the wild please visit the Canadian Wildlife Health Cooperative website and follow the decontamination protocol.

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